EditGrid – Online Spreadsheet Service
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EditGrid is a very interesting web site to check out and for a lot of good reasons. Essentially it is an online spreadsheet service which is especially useful for those people who do not have access to Microsoft’s Excel or to Lotus 123. And it is totally free to personal users – and for a small subscription fee per month for corporate user groups.
One of the cool features about it is being able to publish and share with others your data online and to collaborate with them with updating the data as required. In fact it is so advanced that live data feeds can be hooked into it so that it can become a dynamic spreadsheet with constantly changing values. For example, it can collect live stock market quotes, currency exchange rates and the like to produce a web site based information tool to your audience. This alone means that EditGrid is far more functional power than the desktop based spreadsheet applications like Excel and Lotus.
Currently there are more than 100,000 registered users of the service. And a recent survey showed that more than 90% of users would recommend it to others. Their web site is packed with useful examples of spreadsheets that people have created so as to demonstrate the power and flexibility of EditGrid.
How Does EditGrid Compare with Excel and Lotus?
Spreadsheets are more than just a software tool used to hold and process data. Often it is imperative to be able to highlight that data so that meaning information can be quickly drawn from it. And so while the total spreadsheet may have many thousands of cells being used off to the side to calculate new values from source values, the main highlights of the results that matter can be brought to prominent position and displayed in summaries. These summaries can have larger font sizes, and colors used to make the information easier on the eye to find.
All the usual and expected functions of spreadsheet that users of Excel and Lotus have come to rely on are the same with EditGrid. And so sorting large data sets is quick and easy. Copying formulas to large numbers of columns or rows enables you to grow a mass project quickly, almost like an artist using sweeping brush strokes to lay down the foundation of the work on the canvas.
The problem with working with Excel and Lotus, and then relying on emailing the work in progress to the next user for them to update, is that there become many versions of the work over time. Manually trying to build version numbers into the newest copy is the discipline needed, and the overlapping times that different users make their contributions.
EditGrid Being Web-Based is Great
Because it is web-based, it enables multiple users to work on the spreadsheet at the same time, or at different times. That is, all the data and the growing functions of the spreadsheet all remain in one place. There is only ever one version, unless copies are saved on the server too. What is extra special is that EditGrid comes with built in chat facility, so that users from all over the world can collaborate on the project at the same time with no confusion.
This means that both people are seeing in real time what is being worked on, and ideas and suggestions can flow freely between the users. This means that each person may be working on a different part of the total project, or that they can collaborate on the same cells, formulas or display presentation tools and choices. Of course it comes with an inbuilt “change log” so that as one worker finishes for the time being, and another continues on, the first person can come back and see what has changed. Changes can then be accepted or rejected as they case may be, but nothing slides by unnoticed or unrecognized.
As just a sample of ideas for using EditGrid, it is great for building a customized contact list, general reporting of project progress, inventory tracking, tracking of issues and their progress, logging of jobs, budgeting and expense reporting, cataloguing and collection tracking, event sign up data storage, and the list goes on.
Getting Started With EditGrid
It is easy to get started by clicking the link and following the sign up wizard process. Basically all you need to do is register your user name and email address. After you have confirmed your email address, you’ll be able to create spreadsheets immediately. Everything looks and is presented to you just the same as in Excel, so you really have no learning curve to go through to get started.
There are many tutorials you can refer to if spreadsheets are new to you, or if you are not sure how to work with the extra functions that are available over and above Excel.
Perhaps the main thing for you to consider is access to your work. That is, unless the matter you are publishing is to be viewed by the world at large, then you will need to know how to limit access to those people you wish to authorize. To get this correct, you will make decisions under the Share, Publish and Collaborate items on the menu at the top.
These menu items will give the choices to keep it private or various levels of read and write access. That is, sometimes your need will be for members of the public to update the data, other times you will only want them to be able read it, or in the case of using the private setting – perhaps only you can view it. You’ll find that you can set the spreadsheet to show only areas of it or the whole thing. Similarly, those with whom you collaborate with can have their access limited to cell ranges that you set.
You will not be disappointed. EditGrid is superior to Excel. It has all the bells but with extra whistles!